Georgia CTSA-supported Professional Certificate in Health IT Offers In-demand Skills

Through the new Health Informatics on FHIR program, students can learn how web-based technologies are transforming the applications of informatics to patient care. Mark Braunstein, MD, professor of the practice, School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology, stated, “Without the generous support of the Georgia CTSA, porting the program to the edX platform so it could be offered publicly would not have been possible. The new three course edX professional certificate program derives from the Udacity MOOC used on campus and by students in the OMSCS program.”

This series of courses begins with an introduction to the US healthcare delivery system, its many systemic challenges and the prior efforts to develop and deploy informatics tools to help overcome those problems. It goes on to discuss health informatics from an historical perspective, its current state and its likely future state now that electronic health record systems are widely deployed, the HL7 FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) standard is being rapidly accepted as the means to access and share the data stored in those systems and analytics is increasing being used to support clinical research using that aggregated data. It then turns to the impact of FHIR in transforming healthcare with a focus on some of the important and evolving areas of informatics including health information exchange, population health, public health, mHealth and big data and analytics. Use cases and case studies are used in all of these discussions to help students connect the technologies to real world challenges.

“The key informatics challenges facing US healthcare are how to seamlessly share electronic patient data to improve the quality and efficiency of care and how to analyze it to gain new knowledge.  Both depend on a practical interoperability technology and HL7's new Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard is achieving unprecedented acceptance as the needed solution,” observed Braunstein. “Georgia Tech has been a leader in developing educational programs centered on FHIR. This new series of courses builds on that and extends our reach to learners around the world.”

Commenting on the real career impact, Lucienne Ide, MD, PhD, Founder and Chief Health Innovator of Rimidi, a digital health company transforming diabetes care, remarked, "Rimidi is a leading developer of SMART on FHIR applications for management of chronic health conditions. FHIR allows for seamless integration to EHR workflows and individuals with experience developing FHIR apps are rare and in high demand. Candidates who have earned a professional certificate through Dr. Braunstein's Health Informatics on FHIR courses on edX would have a distinct advantage in the health IT marketplace."

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The Georgia CTSA Informatics Program is a collaborative effort of Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), University of Georgia (UGA) and affiliated institutions. The program brings together a unique assembly of talent and information technology to support a wide range of Georgia CTSA investigator projects. The team consists of experts in biomedical informatics, computer science, and information technology from the Georgia CTSA partner institutions. Informatics focuses on linkages and integration of translational and clinical/health systems (existing and new electronic records systems, including patient data repositories and Clinical Data Warehouses at partnering institutions).

The Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance (Georgia CTSA) is an inter-institutional magnet that concentrates basic, translational, and clinical research investigators, community clinicians, professional societies, and industry collaborators in dynamic clinical and translational research projects. Emory engaged three of its close academic partners – Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia Tech, and UGA – to form the Georgia CTSA. This partnership, a strategic multi-institutional alliance, offers compelling, unique, and synergistic advantages to research and patients statewide.

Georgia CTSA is one of nearly 60 in a national consortium striving to improve the way biomedical research is conducted across the country. The consortium, funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards, shares a common vision to translate laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, engage communities in clinical research efforts, and train the next generation of clinical investigators.